Wander Project Bangkok Thailand 2005


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On one trip back from Malaysia to the US, I had extra time, so I stopped in Bangkok. Mom and dad were there (dad was consulting for the IPST after retiring). So I took the opportunity to go hang out in Bangkok. Twist my arm, make me go Smile. The Kalongs of my youth are gone, many of them now filled in. There are a few still, the waters still active. Dad was working during the day (except for the Saturday and Sunday) so I hung out with mom quite a bit. That was great. I got to take mom and her friend Miss Hart to the wonderful buffet overlooking the river. Well, mom intended to take me, but my grandfather taught me how to make sure the bill came to me. So I won that round. Grandpa was really good at getting bills sent to him. We had a wonderful lunch and did a little wandering. I always feel guilty every time I got to Thailand there are so many people I wish I could see every time. I get a few of them every time. There are people from my childhood that I can’t not see. They are important memories. We also took a trip to one of the oldest temples near Bangkok in the evening. Standing there trying to, with a digital camera, capture the majesty of a building that was more than 2000 years old. How do you capture 2000 years digitally? I have to say this movement, this visit to the temple feels different now. Miss Hart and Dad are no longer with us. The only travelers from that day that are still here are mom and I. I guess ultimately, the real reason for the family history project is to preserve moments like this. To make them available to more than just the four people that were standing there that evening.

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The picture of that evening trip to the Watt does little justice. I didn’t have a great camera with me. I guess in the age of Cell phone pictures this one is not bad. I find peace at Watt’s. Each one a different kind of peace and understanding. I was shocked at this one, standing next to my father he leaned in and said “I find such peace at Buddhist Watt’s” first off that he and I thought alike on the peace issue but also that he shared that with me. That was my father, you would be cruising along and he would would tell you something you didn’t expect. It has been a little over two years now and I miss that. I miss him handing me a book that I had to read. I miss basking in the warm glow of a Buddhist watt near Bangkok with him. My father, like all humans had flaws. Starting around the time we were in Bangkok and for many years after that, he and I didn’t see eye to eye often. My world was technology and building systems, teaching on occasion not teaching as an avocation. Dad and I never talked about that, about me leaving teaching. I know in the end that it bothered him. But I also know he was proud of who I became.

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I don’t often go picture crazy in my blog, but from time to time it is something you have to do. I love Bangkok. Not as much as my father did. He came alive in Bangkok. He was the Adjan (the honored professor) and it gave him an energy he didn’t always have back home. He did have that energy around my mom, but not work. Bangkok gave him purpose and connection. He had mom, dad always needed mom to make this whole. But Bangkok was his purpose, his mission. The pictures are from that long four or five day weekend. I really enjoyed hanging out with mom, hanging out with dad and just wandering Bangkok again. There are 100 places that I have been in the city. Maybe 200 places. I couldn’t pick a favorite one. Wandering the old city is amazing. Visiting the new Watt’s the ancient Watt’s, seeing the city evolve and become a mix of old and new. In 1972 there were Kalongs (Thai word for Canal) everywhere. Those were gone by 2003 when the entire family visited mom and dad as they were in Bangkok. There were still some Kalongs but not many, not the great Venice of the East (although 1000 years older than Venice, Venice is the Bangkok of the West). The Sunday Market, The Night Market, The Floating Market and just about every other market we ever went to were all and are all memories.

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Family Historian

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